Is City Hall Back-Peddling on Homeless ‘Emergency’ Spending?

LOS ANGELES

RANTZ AND RAVEZ-On July 1, 2017, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti and LA City Council members were sworn into office for the next 5 1/2 years. Now that they are officially in position, in power to serve the public, what will they do to improve the quality of life in Los Angeles? What will they do to address transportation gridlock, the high cost of housing, increasing crime and a host of other pressing matters using over $8 billion in taxes? 

 

Reduce Homelessness 

While millions of tax dollars are appropriated to address and reduce the “Emergency” Homeless crisis throughout Los Angeles, the situation is not improving in the LA area in general and specifically in the San Fernando Valley. Like many of you, I volunteered for the homeless count the past two sessions. The most recent homelessness survey can verify that it’s getting worse every day. Homelessness in Los Angeles and the region is increasing by double digits compared to the first community survey. 

All you have to do is drive around your neighborhood or travel to nearby business areas and you will find more and more homeless people camping out on private property, living a life without bills or any form of personal responsibility. While none of them are starving, many of them suffer from mental illness and/or drug addiction. While there are facilities for homeless veterans, many don’t want to use them for a variety of personal reasons. 

This is becoming more and more a way of life in Los Angeles and other cities around America. And it damages the image and lifestyle of many people who follow the rules, pay their taxes and expect local government to address the ills of their communities and provide for a clean and responsible society. When I walk around Los Angeles or ride the Metro Orange Line and Red Line to downtown and other regions of LA, I see homeless people sleeping here and there with the odor of urine on the sidewalks and in vegetation adjacent to the sidewalks. It is like I am in another country with a corrupt government that ignores the needs of the impoverished and caters only to the rich and famous. 

Is this a description of Los Angeles in July 2017? Think about it and decide. The most recent statistics confirm my observations, plain and simple: the homeless population in the Los Angeles region is increasing. It is not decreasing, in spite of the “Emergency” declared years ago by the Mayor and County Officials. For them it is all about more and more money being raised with little improvement to and for our communities. The few voters who take the time to vote see little happening with the money they vote for despite the impact on their pocketbooks and community. We are talking about more in taxes and little if any change to our quality of life. 

Remember the sidewalk money? Where is that? And what has happened to the sidewalks in your neighborhood? I can go on and on and on. I will leave this for now and ask you this question: Has you your life become better or worse in the last number of years? What about the quality of life in your neighborhood and the amount of money you have left to spend on items for you and your family, other than basics like rent and utilities? 

People want me to suggest a solution…so here it is: get off your ass and get involved. There are many ways to accomplish this. Just think about it. I will give you some suggestions next time in RantZ and RaveZ.        

Los Angeles Police Department most recent Crime Statistics 

The latest LAPD Crime Stats show the continuing trend of increased crime and the reduction in the number of arrests. These are the official crime stats for LA City as of June 24, 2017 (comparing 2015 vs 2017.) 

Violent Crime is up +18.9 %. Violent crime includes: Homicide, Rape, Robbery and Aggravated Assaults.  

Property Crime is up +9.7 %. This includes the following: Burglary, Motor Vehicle Theft, Burglary/Theft from vehicle, Personal/Other Theft.  

Overall Arrests are down -18.3%. This includes the following: Homicide, Rape, Robbery, Aggravated Assaults, Burglary, Larceny and Motor Vehicle Theft. While the overall arrest numbers reflect a significant reduction from 2015 to 2017, Rape Arrests are up along with Homicide, Robbery, Aggravated Assaults and Motor Vehicle Theft. 

When it comes to arrests, this reflects the lack of support and encouragement the LAPD Officers receive from Mayor Garcetti’s appointed Anti-Police Los Angeles Police Commission made up of five individuals with little regard for and/or support of LAPD officers and their mission, “To Protect and To Serve.” This group of Commissioners is led by Commission President Matt Johnson.  

Like I have said before, when it comes to the motivation for police officers to “Protect and Serve” you, your families and our communities, we need a Pro-Police Commission with Commissioners that are concerned with protecting all residents and guests in our city. We need strong support for the dedicated members of the LAPD who would appreciate positive encouragement from members of the police commission. Sadly the negative decisions and direction of the current LA Police Commission serve only to undermine any proactive police work by LAPD Officers.     

Something good for you…Finally a Rave 

Do you remember the Good Old Days when you listened to AM Radio KBWB and KRLA and Boss Radio on KHJ? This was way before the FM music stations and all the others we how have. I found an AM station without commercials that plays only oldies music: 1260 on your AM radio dial. Check it out. It will take you back to the Good Old Days in your ’56 Chevy and Wednesday nights on Van Nuys Blvd. Oldies all the time! 

That’s it for this edition of RantZ and RaveZ. I welcome your comments and suggestions on articles.  Zman8910@aol.com      

 

(Dennis P. Zine is a native of Los Angeles and a contributor to CityWatch. He is a former and retired: elected Charter Reform Commission Vice-Chairman, Los Angeles Police Sergeant, elected member of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, elected member of the Los Angeles City Council.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.

-cw

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